Ballot Box

Go, Pat, Go

The notion that the Republican Party should evict Pat Buchanan–first advanced in this space last week–is gaining momentum.

On Sunday, Bill Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard, endorsed the idea on This Week With Sam and Cokie, saying that the GOP should urge Buchanan to leave. Kristol compared the situation to what happened in the Democratic Party in 1948, when Harry Truman showed the pro-Stalinist Henry Wallace the door.

On Tuesday, John McCain got on the Dump Buchanan bandwagon. “I don’t believe that Pat Buchanan is a part of the Republican Party when he uses statements and beliefs that we should not have fought against Hitler’s Germany and Tojo’s Japan,” McCain elaborated. “I believe that we should always stand on principle and not on polls when we decide whether someone should remain in our party or not. And I do not believe that that kind of rhetoric represents Americans, much less Republicans.”

On Wednesday, Mark Sanford, a Republican Congressman from South Carolina chimed in. “I agree with John McCain,” Sanford said.

On Thursday, Bill Dal Col, Elizabeth Dole and Steve Forbes’ campaign manager, joined in the criticism–though both stopped short of calling on Buchanan to leave the GOP. Dal Col called Buchanan’s statements in his book questioning whether the United States should have entered World War II “outrageous.” Dole released a statement saying that she was “appalled by Pat Buchanan’s comments.”

Buchanan has responded with his customary fury. Asked by Katie Couric on the Today Show why he faces accusations of anti-Semitism, he responded, “Because I speak truth to power and because Pat Buchanan is probably the only leader in this country who will stand up to the Israeli lobby.” One question: What does the latest round of criticism–fueled by Buchanan’s argument that the United States should have tried to stay out of the Second World War–have to do with the Israeli lobby?

Meanwhile, Buchanan’s negotiations to take over the Reform Party appear to be stalled. In an interview on ABC News Radio released today, Buchanan says that he has been trying to reach Ross Perot. So far, Perot has not returned his calls.